Posts tagged under Eco-friendly. Show all posts.
Looking for an eco activity to get your family excited about Earth Day? Storm drain marking is a special activity that brought me precious one-on-one time with my young boys, helped educate my children and neighborhood about the environment, left a lasting memory, and involved no cost!
When I heard about an opportunity to mark storm drains, I immediately knew my kids would love to participate. I mean, what child doesn’t like fresh air, reflective vests, glue, and a hammer? Along with the process of marking drains, the kit comes with literature to distribute for residents to read about what ‘not’ to put into storm drains. This was my boys’ favorite part of the process and I loved watching people ask my kids what the pamphlets were for and listening to their answers. From the mouth of a babe—my younger son, Angelo, would simply reply, “I’m helping the fish”.
Storm drain marking is a conservation and education project developed by Fisheries and Oceans Canada. The process is to apply fish stickers beside the storm drain and hammer the decal with a mallet approximately 50 times so the sticker absorbs into the grooves of the cement. This activity needs to be done on a clear day and takes two days to fully dry.
My boys and I marked a long road and tagged fish decals to 35+ storm drains. They still proudly point to the drains they marked knowing they helped improve their community. It was such a fun activity and will always be a favorite memory of quality time spent with my boys.
Tips for making this activity a success:
In honour of Earth Day, I have some simple suggestions on how to ‘green’ your home and improve your family’s overall health.
Still rocking the Teflon, non-stick pan set from your wedding registry? Stainless steel, cast iron, and the latest in earth-friendly cookware are a better alternative. The ‘King of Non-Stick’, Teflon, is produced with highly toxic chemicals that are a likely human carcinogen. While on the topic, avoid using the self-clean option on your oven because these ovens are lined with non-stick services that emit toxic fumes during the ‘cleaning’ process.
Avoid using chemicals to mask odours. Room deodorizers (or plug-ins) are the worst culprits for spritzing chemicals around a room. Instead, open your windows and let the sunshine and fresh air into your home. Sunlight is a natural killer of bacteria. Fresh air and plants will also remove odour, improve air quality, and save you money!
There’s no need for fabric softeners and dryer sheets. Dryer sheets provide a double whammy of skin irritation and airborne toxins for your family to ingest. Walk around your neighborhood on a beautiful, clear morning and you’ll smell the homes that are using dryer sheets from outside. Think of how high the chemical concentrate from those sheets must be if you can smell it in that context. There are healthier alternatives to keeping your clothes soft.
Start cleaning and laundering with eco-friendly cleaners. Not only will the fish thank you, but your health will improve, too. And your children can safely help you clean using a microfibre cloth or washing dishes with eco-friendly soap because the toxic ingredients are gone.
Being green definitely has its benefits.
Candles are often overlooked as a cause of poor indoor air quality and can affect our health. Paraffin candles are unfortunately the predominant ones on our shelves. Why? Paraffin is cheap—it’s basically the final by-product in the petroleum refining chain…petroleum sludge, if you will. When paraffin candles are burned, they emit toxins and soot that is harmful to our health (think second-hand tobacco smoke). Why would you want that on your birthday cake as everyone important to you gathers around?
When we make better choices and buy, for example, beeswax candles, we support beekeepers and bees, and they are better for our world and the air we breathe in our homes. Pretty simple. Beeswax candles leave your air fresher and cleaner—they are a true air purifier and they are the only candle for those with chemical sensitivities or allergies. Also, make sure to select 100% pure beeswax (candles can be labelled as beeswax candles even with only 10% beeswax and many are blended with cheap paraffin to cut costs).
Beeswax may be more expensive, but they have a much slower burn rate, so you’ll be able to use them over and over again.
Light, burn safely, blow out. And repeat often. Celebrate happily and in good health, for you and the world.
What shades are in your shopping cart? What is the actual colour of your food?
In the kitchen and on your plate, everything looks better in colour. I’m thinking field greens, delicious tomatoes, yellow peppers, blueberries, raspberries, cantaloupe and so on. I am not referring to neon-coloured food products and beverages like blue power drinks, though. As you reach for coloured foods, consider how they artificially colour and flavour that stuff.
For decades, there have been studies about food dyes and their link to cancers, allergies, and behavioural issues in children, not to mention their affect on our world in production alone. The results and linkages are astounding, and regardless of the ability for companies to claim that they are safe, you are still taking a risk on your body and on your kids’ bodies that you might not want to take.
In the EU and UK, the big companies have already started phasing dyes and other toxins out of their products…because their population has demanded it. Remember, we might expect to find toxic stuff in junk food (candy, cakes, cocktails), but it’s important that you read up on your yogurt, cheeses, vitamins, and even crackers…be your own best advocate and read the label every time. You will surprise yourself!
These are the colourings that I deem acceptable for my family:
These are the absolute “not in my shopping cart” ingredients:
Although I encourage you to be colourful, don’t paint your plate by number, use your own palette.
With Earth Day quickly approaching, going green is top of mind for many—my family included. But instead of trying to live green for one day or one month, what if you and your family made a long-term commitment to reducing your environmental footprint?
I’ve recently discovered millions of homes across the country share a dirty little secret—Canadian households typically have three zones that can consume up to 60% of energy usage. However, by making small, mindful changes, families can turn their impact from negative to positive.
In my books, Green For Life and There’s Lead in Your Lipstick, I talk about the small and easy changes families can incorporate into their day-to-day lives to eliminate harmful chemicals, save on energy costs and leave you feeling good about your environmental footprint. By focusing on each area as a ‘greenable zone’, it is possible to unlock countless environmental saving opportunities.
The first step is to identify which areas of your life have the most potential for green living—if your family is anything like mine, you undoubtedly spend the most time in the kitchen and there are several simple changes that can be made:
Where does an estimated 65% of your home’s total indoor water use take place? The bathroom. In this room, small simple changes can make a big impact:
As Canadians, there are many alternatives that we can start to integrate into our daily lives that will help make the planet a cleaner, healthier and more enjoyable place to live. The laundry room is the final room in the house where small changes can make a big difference:
There are lots of great online resources that offer tips and tricks on how to live a greener life—education is the key. I follow several green companies online for daily tips and green giveaways; my personal favourite is Seventh Generation.
It takes just two weeks to form a new habit (or break a bad one), so why not make a commitment to implement a greener routine that can save money, make a lasting impact on the environment and positively affect the health of your family.
So here’s my challenge to you—commit to making four small and simple changes which can be incorporated into your family’s daily routine that will make a lasting impact on the environment and the health of everyone involved. Greener doesn’t have to cost you more time or money, so get your family involved. Empower them to be a part of the change with these four easy steps and make sustainable living the new ‘normal’ in your home.
Step 1: The Litterless Lunch
As a mom, when I recognized the impact of prepared, packaged and processed foods on our bodies and the environment, I knew that I had to make a change. By swapping out disposable packaging for reusable lunch carriers and avoiding prepared foods, you’ll be saving money, the environment and improving the health of your child. Here’s how:
Step 2: Watch How You Wash
Keep in mind that while you are making an investment in a healthy and more sustainable lunch, it’s important to investigate what you are using to wash and keep your lunch containers clean. Many dish and laundry soaps contain petrochemicals (derived directly from oil). So wherever possible, look to wash your lunch bags and containers with plant-derived, non-toxic dish soap. I make sure the following on are my shopping list:
Step 3: Choose a Fun, Fit and Sustainable Route to School
Getting to school has an enormous impact on our environment as well as our health. With an estimated 1.6 million children in Canada (26% per cent of children) considered overweight or obese, it’s a wonder more parents don’t look at making healthy transportation options a part of their daily lives. Here’s a few ways to work health, cost and environmentally-friendly options into your getting to school routine:
Step 4: Rebrand Responsibility
It’s important to engage your kids in the school preparation and planning process to help set them up for success. This means that kids must be involved in organizing their snacks and lunches for the week, they should help clean and select their clothing and should also be in charge of creating their weekly schedules (including chores, sports practices, music lessons, etc). Most importantly though, they need to understand why it is important that they choose environmentally-friendly products.
After having many conversations with my own children about the environment and what it means to do our part, I recognized that a big part of teaching stewardship is ingraining responsibility into the fabric of your household.
Overall, it’s never too late to set a new standard of what you and your family can do to help care for the environment.